Wednesday, December 31, 2008

east meets west

"Used as a complementary form of therapy for women undergoing other fertility treatments, acupuncture has been proven to be especially beneficial. Some believe that acupuncture works by helping women stay more relaxed through stressful fertility treatments. In particular, studies have shown that acupuncture definitely increases the rate of pregnancy in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF)."

yesterday i scheduled my first acupuncture appointment. we had decided if the first cycle didn't work we'd try a little alternative medicine in conjunction with our IVF treatment. does it actually work? who knows. but it definitely won't hurt to try.

my follow-up appointment with my RE (reproductive endocrinologist) is scheduled for january 13th to discuss this last cycle and what our next course of action will be. as of right now, we're taking at least one month off to let my body recuperate from the last treatment. if all goes according to plan we'll start again in february with a retrieval and transfer in mid-march. although i just looked at our calendar and our trip to san francisco might interfere with that date. we'll have to see if my RE changes my protocol. i guess i really can't say the when til we talk to him.

i'm feeling better but i think i'll pass on going down to asheville tonight. thought i could talk about it, but when i texted the answer to the "baby?" question yesterday i got a knot in my stomach and my eyes started to instantly swell. it's not that i don't want to talk about it, it's that i can't. at least not now. i just want to thank everyone for all their thoughts and prayers, we appreciate all your love and support.

Monday, December 29, 2008

christmas 2008

here are some pics of christmas 2008. surprisingly we kept them down to a minimum. i labeled all the new camera pics so you can tell the difference in quality. yeah, me likey my new toy!

i <3 technology

and apparently so does my dad. this year was a techno gadget christmas. from my parents we got a new flat screen tv. so we went from having none to having two in a few short months. we also got a garmin gps from them, which came in extremely handy today when i was looking for a starbucks fix after my dr's appointment. i just typed in "starbucks" and in 1.7 miles i was feeding my fix. i also got a new camera from aaron. i think he was feeling a little bit sorry for me this year, so he splurged and got me a digital SLR. i'm still reading the directions, but i did manage to take a few quick pics of some of our holiday decorations. (i'll post more christmas pics later) another gift to note: the wii fit. aaron, danny and i played it all christmas day. apparently danny and i need to gain weight and aaron needs to lose. i guess i better get to working out, i told aaron i'd use it if he bought it. now to keep up my end of the bargain. ha, ha!

proven otherwise

at least by mother nature. saturday i had some spotting which isn't uncommon during the early phases of pregnancy. but just to be sure all was well, i asked aaron if we should do a home pregnancy test (hpt). it had been 11 days post transfer and technically any hormones in my system should be out by now. his answer was to wait the two days for my blood test. yesterday, i woke up with more spotting and told aaron i WANTED to do a hpt. he agreed to pick one up when he was out running some errands. four hours later when he walked in the door with the test, i was almost positive AF (aunt flo/my period) had arrived. "i don't think i need to take the test anymore." i told him. i did anyways and it came up BFN (big fat negative). very disappointing! i went ahead and headed down to hickory this morning to get the blood test to confirm what i already know. unless i'm some freak who has her period while pregnant this cycle is pretty much a bust. right now i really can't talk or think about it without crying. keeping myself distracted has helped somewhat, but i'll have pangs of disappointment and sorrow. i'm sure it'll pass with time.

i'm already thinking about our next cycle and asking how soon we can start. my nurse said i'll have to wait til after they get my blood results back today to decide what our next step will be. luckily, we decided to participate in the "shared risk" program. basically it's where you pay for two IVF procedures up front and get the third one free. we kinda thought it would take the pressure off if we knew we had three chances to make it work. it also includes three frozen embryo transfers (FET) too but since we didn't have any to freeze with this cycle we'll have to skip and go on to another fresh one.

if this cycle had worked, we would have been paying double the cost for treatment. at least now we'll be getting our money's worth. (yeah, i'm trying to rationalize this failure) also with "shared risk" if after all our attempts have been exhausted and we don't come home with a baby we'll get 70% of our money back. so all will not be lost. i think we'll start looking into other options after this is completely done. but we've still got a little while to go.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

marley and the chocolate factory

today i got home from christmas shopping with mark and danny and found rice all over my living room floor. marley had gotten down mark's hand warmer sock and ripped a hole in it proceeded to drag it about. there were also a couple of chewed up white boxes lying amongst the debris. i had no idea what was in them, i remember seeing them sitting on one of the steps leading upstairs but didn't think anything about it when we left. apparently they held two huge chocolate bars. i really don't know why mark left them where he did, while we were shopping he had told me they were for grandma and ellie, so there was really no reason for them to be even out of the car. anyways, one of the bars was completely gone. absolutely no evidence it ever existed cept for the box. luckily the other one was still intact. i was kinda hoping both dogs had munched on the chocolate just so one wouldn't have had too much. but now it's pretty apparent marley devoured it all. she's puked about 6 times already. (nope, make that 7 times) we were gonna take her to the vet but we read they would pretty much induce her to vomit and hydrate her which she's doing on her own. poor girl. i think she's pretty close to getting it all out of her system. let me tell you something, it's the sweetest smelling puke ever!

Friday, December 19, 2008

things that make you laugh out loud!

from katie: You are the only person I know that got pregnant while her husband was camping in Washington! :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

before you were born

so here are our little lifeforms. to my surprise when i went in yesterday the doctor recommended we put back both. so i am officially PUPO with twins. aaron has no clue. since he's camping in washington, i have no way to contact him til sunday.

we'll find out the monday after christmas whether this worked for us. til then it's gonna be a long 12 days. actually 13 depending on where i want to go for the blood test. i can make the two hour trip to charlotte on sunday to find out or i can wait an extra day and head the one hour to hickory. either way i've got one day notched off already. tomorrow i'll head up to maryland with the pups to visit with my family. i'm thinking if i keep myself busy, the time will just fly by!

restless

video
this is what happens after 20 hours of bedrest. some very restless puppies.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

transferring little buddies

yesterday i got the report that out of the seven that had originally fertilized six were still going strong. one little embie had decided it was done growing. little bugger! in addition to the fertility report i also got my transfer time and date. so tomorrow at 12:30p i will be PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). 12 days later will be the "otherwise" i'll have a blood test to determine if we are officially preggers. i'll update tomorrow to let everyone know how many we put back. i'll be on bedrest for 24 hours so you might see a flux of posting here, there and everywhere. thanks everyone for your support.

**edit, 12/15/08, 9:15a: they just called and told me they want to push the transfer to tomorrow. ugh! i literally had my coat on and was out the door when the phone rang. they're gonna call back this afternoon with a new time for me. i asked and we're now down to five embies. i really hope waiting another day is a good thing. fingers and toes crossed!

awes is awol

awes left this morning for his annual christmas hike in northern washington. he arrived safely despite some questionable weather in minnesota. i had originally been slated to go, not the hiking/camping part but visiting with jamie while the boys were out and about. unfortunately i had to sacrifice in order to get this IVF cycle in. hopefully next year i'll be able to go with a little one in tow!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

embryogenesis

we left the house at 7a to be at the clinic at 9:30a. signed some consent forms and went back to the waiting area. aaron was with me the whole time. i'm given a gown, booties and a shower cap that i put on and sit on the stretcher to wait on the doctor. aaron had brought a stockpile of magazines and he's sitting there reading "sports illustrated" aloud to me and occasionally holding it up to share funny photos. "are you nervous?" he asks.

"about the surgery or the anesthesia?"

"either?"

"no, i'm fine."

and i pretty much was. the nurse came back and inserts an i.v. fluids start pumping through my veins. a few minutes later the doctor comes around and they walk me back to the surgery room. i get myself situated on the table and a few minutes later i'm out cold. the next thing i know i'm back in the waiting area. i.v. already taken out and aaron sitting beside me.

"how many did they get?" i asked.

"nine."

"have i already asked you this?"

"yep. this is your third time asking."

so they retrieved nine eggs. this morning i got the fertility report. of those nine eggs, seven were mature and all seven were fertilized using ICSI. so far so good. we'll get another call saturday morning updating us on the state of the embryos. and hopefully on either monday or tuesday we'll have some really good embryos to transfer back into me. fingers crossed they keep dividing over the weekend.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

egg hunt

tomorrow's one of the big days as far as IVF is concerned. egg retrieval. let's hope we get some good numbers and excellent quality. fingers crossed. i'll report more afterwards.

cloning


aaron's office is having a holiday party on thursday. one of the projects they're doing has something to do with baby/childhood photos. they asked me if i'd scan the photos and put them in a powerpoint presentation. no problem. one of the pics had seen better days, so i decided to do a quick edit to it with the cloning feature in photoshop. not too shabby for 10 minutes of work. if i took a little more time, i'd be able to fix/adjust some of the lighting and tape stains/watermarks. i mainly worked on the creases and tears. pretty cool.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

artful blogging

this morning we left the house at 6a to make a doctors appointment in charlotte. we were pretty much in and out of there by 8:30a and decided to head the hour north to hickory to do a little christmas shopping. we didn't factor in that most stores would be closed so early in the a.m. on a sunday, so we decided to get some breakfast at an IHOP to kill some time. i think this is the first time i've ever eaten there during day light hours. weird.

afterwards we headed over to a barnes and noble, which i hadn't been to for some time. (and man, do i miss having one in our hometown.) well, i'm standing at the magazine section, my jaw dropped in disbelief. the sheer number they have, it's mind-boggling. if you can think of anything, i'm almost positive there's a magazine about it. and, of course, this is the magazine that catches my eye. artful blogging. it basically points you to websites that use photography, creativity or some type of visual art when blogging. very inspirational.

i didn't get the magazine, but i did realize that i like having hard copies of inspiration. i flipped through tons of craft books before deciding on one to take home. simply sublime bags by jodi kahn. it's got some cute, simple bags that are either no sew or low sew. the less complicated the better as far as i'm concerned. i love the web, but sometimes it's hard to navigate to find exactly what you're looking for, at least inspiration wise. so my craft book library continues to grow.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

the calm

today has been a quiet day at home. probably the last one i'll have for the rest of the year. aaron's with patrick at the football game. although it's been an hour since it ended and i haven't heard from him. i saw that app. state lost so he may be wallowing at a local bar.

i've been commuting to hickory to get monitored while i'm on my stims. tonight will be day 8. i'm somewhat feeling my ovaries growing, but not as much as i had expected. some of the girls in my support group talk about how they are doubled over in pain because their ovaries are humongous. i just feel a twinge here and there and that's pretty much it. i guess i won't complain about not being in pain, i guess my doctor knows what he's doing and is preventing me from overstimulating. anyways, i head down to hickory every other day, get a needle prick and an ultrasound to check my progress. when i went in on wednesday they counted 12 follicles/eggs. a fairly decent number, so i'm told. i think they like to see between 10 and 20 at about 20mm in size by the end of stimulation. tomorrow we head down to charlotte to see my RE and hopefully he'll be able to tell us when everything is going to happen. since everything is "progressing nicely" i'm assuming the egg retrieval will be on tuesday or wednesday. and the transfer will be 5-6 days afterwards. i'll be on bed rest for 2 days after the transfer, i guess to help with implantation. then we have to wait two weeks when we go back in for a blood test to determine if i am with child/children.

i'll let you know tomorrow the "when" of everything. it's just weird to think we're less than a week away now. crazy!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

black and white bulldog

a few weeks ago one of our neighbors called.

"susan, we have a little black and white bulldog on our back porch."

i'm thinking, we don't have a bulldog so why are you calling me. i quickly do a lookaround and notice bosco is nowhere in sight. "hmmm. i think it may be bosco. i don't see him at the moment."

"well he's scratching at the door, should i let him in?"

"that would be great, i'll be over there shortly."

i walk over, knock on the door, and apologize for the inconvenience. i look up and see bosco just trotting around their loft like he owns the place. he hears me and comes running.

"don't you guys have an electric fence?"

"yes, but we haven't been putting their collars on since they know their boundaries. i guess bosco will have to start wearing his again."

i scoop bosco and we head back home. i put his collar back on and let him out again. he starts running for the high weeds and plows through them towards the neighbors house again. what the heck! i call him and he actually listens and comes back. he's really testing his limits and both of us can't figure out why he waits til the cold winter months to do so. he's usually a wimp when it comes to being outside when it's the slightest bit chilly.

well the other day he's down by the creek bed and this morning he's way past the end of our driveway. yeah, the battery is not working in his collar. also, when we were in jamaica, jerome installed a doggie door for bosco and marley. thought we'd give them some free reign but bosco's put the squash on that. i hope that battery comes soon.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

hormone threat level: RED

saturday i started my stims. three shots to the gut every night. 5 units of lupron, 10 units of low dose HCG and 225 units of follistim. basically what the drugs are doing is stimulating the growth of follicles (early eggs) in your ovaries. you normally have one egg mature and gets released in a cycle. with the drugs you're hoping you get between 10-20 of those follies/eggs. so those little ovaries that are currently the size of almonds will be the size of lemons or close to by the time i'm done.

so far i haven't really had too many side effects. cept maybe all the pimples that have decided to plant themselves all over my face. so it's safe to say the hormones they are a raging. that should be an indication to aaron not to push any unnecessary buttons. nah, not really. if you're gonna start a sentence with, "don't get mad when i ask..." yeah, i'm gonna blow-up ten folds. i mean i was so mad that i actually did all my shots myself that night. (up until then he'd done them all.) it was surprising to both of us. after a night to cool off, things are back to normal. i'm still tearing up watching commercials and sobbing when cheering at a basketball game (which was really weird). but as long as there isn't any physical side effects, i won't complain too much.

turkey day in review

my parents came down wednesday evening and with them came our new/used table and chair set. i was a little worried buying something sight unseen but when they pulled it out of the truck, my worries were for not. it's actually in better condition than i expected. we set it up and were soon enjoying a chili dinner around it that night. i am contemplating painting the chairs, there's a little too much brown for my taste. maybe a nice blue to match the backsplash we're eventually getting.

no matter how big a house is, my mom can make it seem like it's too small. as soon as she arrived we didn't have enough refrigerator or counter space. we didn't have enough dishes or pots. serving utensils - needed more. somehow we managed to make a delicious turkey dinner in spite of the lack of everything. afterwards the guys watched football and mom and i ended up starting a craft project.

friday i had a doctor's appointment in charlotte at 8am so mom tagged along with me. i told her we'd go shopping afterwards, big mistake. got up at 5, left here by 6, arrived in charlotte by 8. saw the doc and was out of there by 9. the first and last store we hit up was target. if there's an economic crisis going on, it sure didn't seem like it this day. i went up and down aisle after aisle looking for a parking spot. when i finally scored one we had to wait for a shopping cart. after dodging the gazillion shoppers in every aisle and waiting in the checkout line that was the whole length of the store, i was done. i looked down at our cart and there wasn't a single "sale" item in it. i told mom, if we're not getting any "deals" than we don't need to be shopping today. waking up at 5am was starting to show. i asked if she cared that we headed home after we paid and she was fine with it. i felt kinda bad for dragging her down there with me for nothing, but she was fine with it. we got a little mother/daughter bonding time in.

we got home around mid afternoon. aaron and dad had gotten the christmas tree. it's a little smaller than last years. (unfortunately the guy that gave us our tree last year isn't selling trees this year.) they ended up getting the tree from the church up the road and it was one of the largest ones they had. we set it up in the foyer sunday and it still looks good despite it's dwarfness. :) i'll have to take pics when it's all decorated which will probably be tonight. in the evening we all settled down in the basement and watched "tropic thunder." a good night.

saturday aaron and dad went to watch app. state play in their first playoff game against south carolina state. luckily the weather somewhat cooperated as they watched the mountaineers beat sc state to advance to the next round. unfortunately siu lost to new hampshire so there's not going to be a match-up of saluki vs. mountaineer like we hoped two saturdays from now. it would have been great to see. while the boys watched football, mom and i did some shopping. despite our town being so little, we do have a fairly decent sized mall. and with a majority of the town at the football game, it wasn't too crowded. we were able to pick up a few things. afterwards, i picked up dad and aaron from the game, came home watched some more football then we went out to dinner. all in all it was a great visit. luckily they left before the weather got too bad. had to brave through some rain but at least it wasn't the 3 inches of snow we got yesterday. yes, more snow. unbelievable.